Frank Herbert's classic science fiction novel DUNE will live for many generations as a masterpiece of creative imagination. In this game you can bring to life the forbidding alien planet and the swirling intrigues of all the book's major characters.
- Board Games
Dune the Right Thing
Rare: a uniquely happy marriage of narrative and mechanics. I can't imagine what it would be like to play not knowing the Dune universe. Overly complex. Over a dozen plays in and we still get the rules wrong. Six players all but mandatory. But the design keeps giving (and giving in, to story). Here imbalance is virtue. Six factions that resist and enable each other in delightful ways. The Bene Gesserit may never win, but never-winning has never been so fun. Defeat here has the glow of defeat in narrative: somehow it's more interesting, more vital. Games need drama. The story of numbers adds up to nothing. Full disclosure: I hated math until I discovered it had imaginary numbers.
This is a mad game. I'm not aware of any other title that screws without your head quite so much in terms of feeding drips of information to individual players and making everyone excruciatingly paranoid. Every decision you make is a horrible combination of mechanical strategy (no dice, remember) and hidden information: the tension is palpable. Indeed if anything the game is almost too tense. The legendary manner in which the game connects to the source material hardly needs further discussion and is well deserved. However the near-requirement for 5-6 players for a satisfying session is a shame.
Simple Rules for a Complex Setting
Simple rules simulating a complex fictional setting. Dune does a good job recreating some of the themes of the novel and is pretty easy to learn while having some fairly deep strategy. Shai Hulud can wipe out spice production and the coriolis storms can wipe out your units. Interesting interactions can occur when your factions' special abilities work against another's. There's probably a few modern boardgame designers that drew inspiration from this game. If you love the Dune novels (I have for many years) you need to play this game a couple of times. If you like games that give a full strategy boardgame experience you should try it.
Discuss this articleLog in to comment